County supervisors on Thursday approved plans to build out the last sections of the Lansdowne Town Center, clearing the way for a new Chick-fil-A and a larger Starbucks.
At a previous meeting the plans met general approval among supervisors except for a concern about traffic into the area. The traffic study submitted with the application did not consider the impact at a main entrance to the property. While the study examined the impact of the new development on the entrance off Belmont Ridge Road onto Promenade Drive, it did not look at the entrance off Riverside Parkway onto Diamond Lake Drive.
Since then, the developer agreed to study that intersection to see if it needs a traffic signal. That study is due within 60 days of completion of the opening of the Belmont Ridge Road/Rt. 7 interchange, which is currently under construction, or six months of an occupancy permit on property. Board Vice Chairman Ralph M. Buona (R-Ashburn) expressed concern that once the Rt. 7 ramp that leads almost directly to the shopping center is open, traffic could be much different than it is now. At the moment, westbound drivers on Rt. 7 have to take a detour to get to the shopping center.
The developer will also pay the county $30,000 to be used for transportation improvements in the area, which could include a traffic signal at the Diamond Lake Drive and Riverside Parkway intersection.
“In the end, there’re ways to mitigate the traffic,” Buona said. “We’re talking about chicken and coffee here, folks.”
The 7-acre parcel is at the northeast corner of Rt. 7 and Belmont Ridge Road. Previously, it was designated for office space only—a vision of suburban office parks that the county has increasingly abandoned as the office market has dried up.
The new plans include two drive-through restaurants, which Bowman Consulting’s Packie Crown said would be a new Chick-fil-A and a Starbucks relocating from elsewhere in the town center. The applicant has agreed not to build mini-storage warehouses or data centers, which would otherwise be allowed under the new zoning.
“Those are the ones that really, I think, would be the egregious uses in the middle of a town center,” Buona said.
The application would cut the parcel’s approved office space by 95,000 square feet and add another 50,000 square feet of retail—including the two restaurants—cutting the building footprint on that parcel by 45,000 square feet overall.
According to a report by county planners, all of the Lansdowne Town Center’s approved number of homes and 97 percent of its retail area have been built. Half of the development’s mixed-use office and retail space and 28 percent of its office space has been completed.